GM Debate Continues

by Developed Africa 11. June 2014 09:00

The debate surrounding the use of GM crops continues on, as a new study shows the benefits to poor farmers.

A study recently published by PlosOne has argued that GM crops can help poor farmers to consume more calories and better nutritional foods due to the higher yields that they grow.

GM crops already benefit smallholder farmers in several major ways. For example, they help farmers control pests and disease. This leads to high production and increased income, which in turn provides them with increased ability to consume more nutritious food."

One example used by the study was the use of GM cotton, and whilst this is not even a consumable crop, by using a GM version, farmers and their families' calorie intake increased. The argument to be made therefore, is that whilst there is still debate over widespread usage of GM crops, if it can improve the lives of the farmers growing the products, it shouldn't be dismissed without them having a say.

The authors estimate that if the households that do not currently grow GM cotton switched, "the proportion of food insecure households would drop by 15-20%."

Another argument from the anti-GM activists that is starting to be proven wrong is that the use of GM would benefit large corporations the most and would harm the food security of the farmers and people in developing countries. In fact, it is shown that:

at least 90 per cent of the 18 million farmers who grew biotech crops in 2013 were small-scale resource-poor farmers in developing countries."

However, as previously stated, this does not mean that GM crops should have sudden widespread use, there are a lot of factors that contribute to an argument against their usage.

See Developed Africa's previous posts on the debate: Part One and Part Two.

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